Institute for Transport Studies (ITS)

Staff photo

Professor Natasha Merat


Research Group Leader for Human Factors and Safety

Phone: +44 (0)113 34 36614
Room: 2.11
Research Group: Human Factors and Safety

Key Research Interests

  • Human factors of highly automated driving
  • HMI design
  • Driver behaviour, especially driver distraction and the influence of new technologies in driving
  • Driver fatigue
  • Older drivers and technology
  • Train driver distraction and workload
  • Psychophysiological measures of driver behaviour
  • Multisensory integration, especially crossmodal links between audition, vision and touch.

Visiting Positions and Professional Engagements

  • Adjunct Professor, Public Policy Centre, University of Iowa
  • Visiting Fellow, Mobile Robotics Group, University of Oxford
  • Director: Transport Systems Hub, University of Leeds, 2011-2015
  • WG member: EC iMobility group on Highly Automated Driving, 2012-present
  • Guest Editor, Special section of Transportation Research Part F., on Vehicle automation and driver behaviour
  • Guest Editor: Special issue of Human Factors on Automation in Vehicles, 2012
  • Elected Director of the Executive Council, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Europe Chapter, 2011 to date
  • Member of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Europe Chapter (2005 to date)
  • Working Party Member of Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (2003 to date)
  • Member of the British Psychological Society (2000 to date)
  • Treasurer, Cognitive Section, British Psychological Society (2000-2004)

Employment History

  • 2004-2013, Senior Research Fellow, ITS, University of Leeds
  • 2002-2004, Research Fellow, ITS, University of Leeds
  • 1999-2002, Research Fellow, Department of Psychology, University of Surrey
  • 1998-1999, Research Fellow, Cognitive Neuroscience Group, Unilever Research


  • 1999 - PhD, Psychology, University of Leeds
  • 1993 - BSc (Hons), Physiology, University of Leeds

Research Projects and Experience

  • VRA: Vehicle Road Automation (ITS PI - 2013-2017)
  • AdaptIVe (ITS PI, 2014-2018)
  • FORWARN: towards an intelligent forward collision warning system (PI, 2012-2016, EPSRC)
  • CityMobil 2 (ITS PI, 2012-2016, EC)
  • Transport Research Knowledge Centre (PI, 2009-2010, EC)
  • Low-cost innovative engineering measures to reduce fatigue-related accidents (PI, 2007-2009, Highways Agency)
  • CityMobil (PM, 2006-2011, EC)
  • EASY: Effects of Automated Systems on Safety (CI, 2006-2009, EPSRC)
  • AIDE: Adaptive Integrated Driver-Vehicle Interface (PM, 2004-2008, EC)
  • HASTE: HMI And the Safety of Traffic in Europe (PM, 2002-2005, EC)

For a list of my publications see also Google scholar:


Past teaching includes lectures on Theories of Attention to 3rd year undergraduate students in the Faculty of Biological Sciences.

I also supervise ITS Masters student dissertations on a variety of topics involving driver behaviour.  Examples of past topics inlcude:

  • Acceptability of Intelligent Speed Adaptation for Young Drivers
  • Is the driving test related to real world driving?
  • Does personality influence engagement in mobile phone tasks?
  • Using video recordings to analyse conflicts bewteen drivers, cyclists and pedestrians

PhD Students

  • Tyron Louw is investigating the Human Factors of Transitions in Highly Automated Driving, as part of the AdaptIVe project
  • Anderson Etika is sponsored by the Nigerian Government and is studying speed choice in Nigerian fleet drivers
  • Nick Herbert is in the final year of his PhD research, co supervised by Nick Thyer from the School of Healthcare in Leeds, investigating Hearing Impairment and Driving Performance
  • I am also co-supervising Yvonne Taylor with Samantha Jamson from ITS. Yvonne is a full-time police officer and a part-time student who will be studying fatigue and work related accidents.



  • de Waard D; Merat N; Jamson H; Barnard Y; Carsten O (2011) Human Factors of Systems and Technology, Shaker.

Book Chapters

Conference Papers

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